Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > Air-Step is the First-Step

Air-Step is the First-Step by Jenny Silitch
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it was amazing
bookshelves: artists-books

Oh. Fuck. I'd forgotten about this bk. When I found it in my artist's bk box & saw who it was by & looked at it again I was surprised that it's quite interesting. I'd sortof blocked this girl out of my mind. I was thinking about prefacing my review w/ something like: 'This is by a girl who was a source of torment in my life from 1988 to 1989 until I refused to have anything to do w/ her anymore. She liked to play cute little games like tell me that she liked to get boys who didn't want to hit her to hit her. She told me that that's what she did w/ her boyfriend. Then she told her boyfriend that she got me to hit her - that wasn't true. I reckon the idea was to get us to fight each other. He didn't fall for it.' That gives you some idea of why I'd tried to just forget about Jenny. But I had a crush on her (or something) & she'd hovered around me in Baltimore & San Francisco. Now I look at this & what do I see?

"Tent I Love you. Jenny"

written in tiny handwriting in the back. I don't recall ever noticing that before. Given how utterly appallingly lonely my life is these days this makes me feel fucked-up all over again. Yeah, Jenny, you did it again. 20 yrs later.

Taped inside the front cover is a business card made out of diffraction mylar. A nice start. On the card's upper right it says "Pasturized Conseling" [sic]. Then the apparent 'company name' is "CONTACT AIR-STEP INC." followed by "FRONT-LINE SAVE DEVICES WIRE-LESS RE-MOTE COUNTER-CONTROLLED REVEL-IMPACT ARMED-DRILL ANTI-PACTS" "J. Silitch, V.P." Yeah, I can see why I had such a crush on this girl. She had a completely demented wonderful imagination.

The next page is a transparency, a "Words to Know" chart w/ words like "GHOST-GOULIES-FREAKS ABOUND" typed horizontally & sideways over a gird of sorts. The transparency overlays the next page's text. There doesn't seem to be much care given to the layout in the sense of having the transparency have a preplanned relationship to what shows thru it from the next page. It's more like writing that erupts from her - complete w/ misspellings. She's a 'freak' (she usta cover her face w/ thick white pancake make-up), she's exploding w/ language, giggling, crazed. Is she an 'outsider writer'? Maybe yes, maybe no. The debate on defining such a thing continues. She was an art student at an expensive school. Probably from a well-to-do family. Someone who might've been 'destined' to have an easy life. Her goofiness might've been a luxury. But, no, she was 'authentic'. Really a nut-case. Someone 'out-of-control'.

"the pollution has worn off this exercise.Protection of caddy substance
rubbed ascew.timid ole boney ribuli park the epoch.witless descent
wheels over and over timeless.Grooves in the ice wonders.Streamlined
ribbon gasp saunters by.the Kick In the Last Tail.
- (can)T go ANY where when wAITing.

Anothe transparency diagram collage, a green page, a hot pink page, 4 red pages, a hot pink page:

"hHyperdermic headache-peer the portal laden with the water of which we bathe.

The back of the bk has a baggie stapled in w/ 3 inserts. One requests that the reader contact Air-Step Inc "with any information regarding your involvement with under-garmets." [sic]

Imagining what's become of Jenny has no clear prediction. She cd be a 'successful artist' (whatever the fuck that means) selling silly sloppy paintings & collages & videos. She cd be in a mental institution. I find this online in connection w/ a show of her paintings:

"Jennie Silitch moved to Houston in the fall of 1990 to be a Fellow in the MFA's Core program. She returned to her native Baltimore in 1993. Silitch worked in numerous media including video, assemblage, painting, printmaking and performance. Among these was a kind of painting that incorporated tape, not as a mask for paint but as a permanent element. Some of these are made with black electrical tape, others with white or red marking tape. Eyewitnesses at the creation of some of these "tape paintings" remark that the roll of tape was a reservoir of "line" that Silitch rapidly deployed onto canvas, cutting and trimming with a razor as she worked."

The paintings don't interest me. I find her listed on some career artist bullshit page for 2008. I find her connected to conventional art shows. She's probably still got some life left in her. I reckon she's gone the 'successful artist' route. Too bad.. but, still, better than dead or institutionalized. I wonder if she's still as crazed as ever?

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 22, 2008 – Shelved
June 22, 2008 – Shelved as: artists-books

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Tentatively, Convenience I should add that this is my description of Jenny from 27+ years ago. She might be a very different person now. She might be someone who's worked through her personal problems & who doesn't play the sorts of games that I describe in my introduction anymore. She might have matured enormously. I wouldn't know, I haven't had any contact with her for a long time.

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